Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission
The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission is a constitutionally mandated state judicial disciplinary agency in Arkansas. The commission have jurisdiction regarding the conduct of full, part-time, and special judges and justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit court, district courts, city courts, and police courts. They also have jurisdiction over referees, special masters, court commissioners, and magistrates.
Composition of the Commission
- The judges must be members of either the Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, or Municipal Court. They appointed by the Supreme Court.
- The three lawyers must be licensed to practice in Arkansas and must not be current or former judges. One is appointed by the Attorney General, one by the President of the Senate, and one by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- The three members of the public must not be lawyers, or current or former judges. They are appointed by the Governor.
- Each member has an alternative member appointed under similar terms.
The commission holds regular meetings once every other month. Commission members receive no salary, but are entitled limited compensation provided by law. They are supported by a full time staff, including an Executive Director.
Members of the Commission
A current list of the members can be found on the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission website.
Case flow description
- Complaints are filed with the Commission.
- Each complaint is reviewed by the commission staff.
- Complaints are dismissed or a preliminary investigation is conducted.
- After an investigation, complaints are dismissed, an information adjustment or public admonishment is issued, or a formal hearing is held.
- Formal hearings can result in a complaint being dismissed, a reprimand or censure being issued by the commission, or a recommendation for suspension or removal given to the Supreme Court.
More information is available here.
(Note: The flow chart on the right was patterned after a flow chart in the State Of Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission Information Guide.)
|Amendment 66. Judicial Discipline And Disability Commission.|
|(a) Commission: Under the judicial power of the State, a Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission is established and shall be comprised of nine persons: three justices or judges, appointed by the Supreme Court; three licensed attorneys in good standing who are not justices or judges, one appointed by the Attorney General, one by the President of the Senate, and one by the Speaker of the House; and three members appointed by the Governor. The members appointed by the Governor shall not be justices or judges, retired justices or judges, or attorneys. Alternate members shall be selected and vacancies filled in the same manner.|
(b) Discipline, Suspension, Leave, and Removal: The Commission may initiate, and shall receive and investigate, complaints concerning misconduct of all justices and judges, and requests and suggestions for leave or involuntary disability retirement. Any judge or justice may voluntarily request that the Commission recommend suspension because of pending disciplinary action or leave because of a mental or physical disability. Grounds for sanctions imposed by the Commission or recommendations made by the Commission shall be violations of the professional and ethical standards governing judicial officers, conviction of a felony, or physical or mental disability that prevents the proper performance of judicial duties. Grounds for suspension, leave, or removal from office shall be determined by legislative enactment.
Statutes relating to the Judicial Discipline And Disability Commission are found in the Arkansas Code: Title 16 - Practice, Procedure, And Courts, Subtitle 2 - Courts and Court Officers, Chapter 10 - General Provisions, Subchapter 4 - Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.
Rules of Procedure
- Rule 1. Organization of Commission.
- Rule 2. Powers and duties of the Commission.
- Rule 3. Financial arrangements for Commission.
- Rule 4. Commission office.
- Rule 5. Duties of the director.
- Rule 6. Jurisdiction.
- Rule 7. Disclosure.
- Rule 8. Procedures of Commission regarding conduct of a judge.
- Rule 9. Hearing on formal statement of allegations.
- Rule 10. Interim sanctions.
- Rule 11. Ex parte communications.
- Rule 12. Supreme Court review.
- Rule 13. Cases involving allegations of mental and physical disability.
- Rule 14. Involuntary retirement.
- Rule 15. Complaints shall be adjudicated or dismissed within 18 months.
A detailed list of commission decisions are available on the Commission's website.
|Year||Number of Cases Filed||Cases Disposed|
Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee
Established on July 1, 1991, by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee issues advisory opinions to judges and official judicial candidates on the Code of Judicial Conduct upon request.
- The committee is composed of two retired judges and one attorney who is a member of the Arkansas Bar. Members serve three-year terms.
- Between 1991 and 2011, the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee issued 126 opinions. Read summaries of all the opinions here.
|1988||The Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission is established with the passing of Proposed Amendment 1, which would become Amendment 66.|
|1989||Legislative Act 637 is passed, creating statutory aspect of the Commission.|
|1991||The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee was established by the Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission to provide advisory opinions.|
|1993||The current Code of Judicial Conduct takes effect.|
|2008||After requesting and receiving advice from the Arkansas Bar Association, the Supreme Court amends the Commission's Rules of Procedure.|
Code of Judicial Conduct
Below is the summary of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct. Full documentation is available at the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission website.
|Canon 1: A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.|
|Canon 2: A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.|
|Canon 3: A judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.|
|Canon 4: A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.|
Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission
323 Center Street, Suite # 1060
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 682-1050
Fax: (501) 682-1049
- State judge disciplinary agencies
- Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, Proposed Amendment 1 (1988)
- The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission
- Arkansas Code, "Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission," 2010
- The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, "Homepage"
- Arkansas Code, "§ 16-10-402 (2012)"
- Constitution Of The State Of Arkansas Of 1874
- The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, "Commission Meetings"
- Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, "2011 Annual Report"
- The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, "Information Guide"
- The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, "Procedure"
- Supreme Court of Arkansas, "Opinion No. 07-444: In Re: Adoption of amendments to rules of procedure of the Arkansas judicial discipline and disability commission in response to Arkansas Bar Association petition"
- Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, "Statistical Data"
- Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, "Index"
- Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, "Procedural Rules"
- Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, "Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct"